Amazon has hosed downs fears that fading consumer confidence is destroying retail in Australia as it debuts its new Launchpad program.
Consumer confidence fell to a two-year low last month and retail sales figures released late last week show department stores are performing worse than other retailers in a challenging trading environment.
The Age went as far as to call it a “death spiral”.
Credit Suisse analyst Grant Saligari noted: “Shopping habits have changed, we’ve seen growth in different category pillars, and there’s been an evolution in online shopping.
“There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a structural decline.”
Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said he was confident of defying the retail downturn.
“Honestly, we don’t really see that… we don’t really see any negative impact based on those headlines [about consumer confidence] at all,” he said.
In fact, Braeuniger said Amazon is looking to expand its base to offer more products from “innovative and unique” retailers.
Amazon Launchpad kicked off in Australia today, a program with a dedicated Amazon store that allows start-up consumer goods companies market their products to Amazon’s shopper base.
Its initial offering has about 150 local and international brands, with drinks companies involved including sugar-free softdrink Nexba, Huski wine coolers and alcohol-free spirit brand Lyre’s.
Companies accepted into the launchpad program have access to marketing assistance from Amazon as well as access to its fulfilment services.
Amazon first unveiled the Launchpad concept in the US in 2015 and has developed a number of partnerships including a dedicated site for products developed on Shark Tank.
Lyre’s already seeing results
Lyre’s sales have more than doubled month on month since it started selling on Amazon three months ago.
The company was launched by Mark Livings of Kinetic Marketing and his business partners Mick Hall and Carl Hartmann, with the trio spending the past two years developing the range.
“We’re a new brand with very low awareness but when people are looking for our product or products in our category they are turning to Amazon and we are seeing immediate conversion of people looking for non-alcoholic spirits – that’s making us very happy,” Lyre’s co-founder Mark Livings told the Australian Financial Review.
Launchpad sellers pay Amazon’s standard commissions and for fulfilment, but there are no incremental costs for the higher levels of brand development, visibility and marketing support.
“We give them a lot of one-on-one and hand-holding support,” he said.